Taste of Home: A Sandwich Inspires a Cultural Festival | News, Sports, Jobs
Stéphanie Proukou wants to bring back the taste of home.
She has many choices.
“At one time there were seven restaurants in town and my family owned four,” said Proukou. “The Lazy Susan belonged to my grandfather. My grandmother had the Penn Restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue. My cousins, the Spiridons, had Blue Manor. And then my dad had the Warren Sub Shop.
Before returning to Warren recently, Proukou had been gone for decades, but people remember her family’s food. One dish stands out – Teddy’s Steak Sub.
“Every time I came back to Warren, everyone said, ‘I’ve never had a steak sub like your dad’s steak sub’. she says.
“I can’t go anywhere without someone telling me” she says. “Everyone wants to talk about the steak sub.”
She has the recipe. She has the original red T-shirt. And she has a place.
When she returned to the area, she came across Pellegrino’s Creekside Lodge while hunting for ice cream.
Later she came back. At the Allegheny River Monsters concert, Warrenstock 2022, she told Tom Pellegrino about the steak sandwich.
“Maybe once, just one day, we should do it. Bring it back,” said Proukou.
“She said, ‘We should do something with the famous Warren Steak Sandwich'” Pellegrino said.
He remembers. “Wrapped in this red sheet,” he said. “These things were amazing.”
“I’ve had so many people who still want that damn sub, and there are a few of us… who have the recipe,” said Proukou.
They decided to organize an event.
They landed on Sunday, September 4 at 5 p.m., the day before Labor Day.
But that was just the start of an idea.
“Besides taking that sandwich your family developed, why not consider all that Greek history?” he said.
Proukou knows the story of how his family put down roots in Warren.
“My uncle, Gus, was literally crossing the Hickory Street Bridge”, she says. “Where is Snuffy’s now, it used to be The New Yorker.”
“Because he was a Greek immigrant from New York, when he saw the New Yorker he literally said, ‘This is where I’m going to come and this is where we’re going to build our family business. “”
She hopes the stories of other families will be told at the event.
“There are of course other families who have had their mark”, said Proukou. “It would be nice to make it a big Greek cultural event.”
Proukou has reached out in hopes that many well-known Greek families with current restaurants or restaurant heritage will participate.
“These Greek families came to Warren and they brought their crafts and they became Warren novelties,” she says.
“All this Greek history of the restaurant and food industry and how they immigrated here and settled in these directions”, Pellegrino said.
“We really want to make it a story of family, food, culture and fun,” said Proukou. “Enjoying what our community has to offer and bringing a part of the past to life with the steak sub.”
“We have groups coming in,” Pellegrino said. “You have the homes running. We give free little Texas Hots to the kids.
“Gyros, steak sub, Texas hots, apple pie a la mode,” he said.
The steak sub and the whole festival would be reminiscent of times not so long ago.
“It’s really part of the Warren culture,” said Proukou. “It makes me happy to be able to bring him back.”
“One of the greatest things about being back… in an ever-changing world, Warren remains the same.
He is evolving in the way he needs and it is very comforting,” she says. “There is something to be said for stability.